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Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 24 Iyyar 5782
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A Dash of Salt
Millions of people in developing countries have difficulty consuming a balanced diet with all the nutrients and vitamins required for optimal health. The population in these countries is so poor that they can barely afford a subsistence diet. They rarely buy processed food products such as refined cereals and grains, which usually are enriched with vitamins. Thus, they lose out on a chance to receive these essential nutrients.

HarvestPlus is a biotechnology company that is a leading innovator in the area of bio-fortification: fortifying staple crops with vitamins naturally, before they are ever processed. Another area of research is fortified salt. Iodized salt is an international success story; iodine is a necessary trace mineral to prevent formation of goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Recently, HarvestPlus has begun studies to fortify salt with iron, which has drastically cut rates of anemia in children in Ghana. Salt fortified with vitamin A will help millions of children worldwide who suffer from blindness caused by the lack of this vitamin.

 Salt is an ideal vehicle for fortifying with additional vitamins and minerals, since nearly every person in the world consumes salt, and it is exceptionally cheap to enrich: only 1.7 cents per kilogram. People in all countries consume similar amounts of salt, too, so exact dosages are easy to control. It seems that in the war against hunger, a potent weapon has been found to provide required nutritional supplements to hundreds of millions of poverty stricken people.

Good health has for long been the foundation of Divine service. "How is it possible for one to know something of G-d when he is unwell?" (Hilchot Deot by Maimonides). Generally speaking, a person who is ill  is preoccupied with relieving his pain, and has little patience or concern for other matters. One's ability to concentrate on spiritual concerns is dependent on having a healthy body and calm frame of mind. In the messianic era, bodily gripes will not be an aggravation or deterrence to Divine service. "All delicacies will be like dust"--meaning, all our physical requirements, including luxuries and comforts, will be freely available, leaving our minds free for spiritual concerns.

 Salt can hardly be described as a "delicacy"--yet lack of this nutrient can throw one's bodily systems out of balance. Now, even the poorest person has access to both iron and iodine, and possibly other vitamins as well. This breakthrough is another step to preparing the world for a time when "The occupation of the entire world will be to know G-d" (Hilchot Melachim, Maimonides).



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